In a little-noticed move, the Park Service on Earth Day (April 22) began removing trash cans from sites along the George Washington Memorial Parkway — including popular landmarks such as the Iwo Jima memorial, Great Falls and Roosevelt Island — essentially forcing visitors to pack up and take their water bottles, doggie waste, gum wrappers and the like with them.
The expansion is part of the Park Service’s “Trash Free Parks” initiative, which seeks to reduce the amount of garbage the government has to haul away (right now, it’s 380 tons of trash from the GW Parkway alone). That actually doesn’t mean, we should note, that there won’t be any trash in the parks — just that there won’t be any trash cans.
Maybe we’re too cynical about human nature (an occupational hazard), but we weren’t overly confident that folks wouldn’t simply chuck their trash on the ground if a proper receptacle couldn’t be found.
Jon James, superintendent of the GW Parkway, is more optimistic. “It’s a mind-set shift,” he said, adding that the program has worked with great success in other parks, including Catoctin Mountain Park.
The result will save taxpayers, he said, though there’s no estimate yet as to how much. James also said it will allow maintenance workers to spend more time on other projects. According to a fact sheet about the project, the Park Service also lists benefits such as “fostering a partnership between visitors and the park” and eliminating unsightly trash cans.
Let’s hope it doesn’t replace the blight of trash cans with something worse. Like, um, litter.
We weren’t going to read former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules,” a collection of aphorisms and anodyne nostrums he’s collected and espoused over the years.
But book-jacket praise by Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger persuaded us to take a look. And anyone who quotes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Seneca, Machiavelli and Jon Stewart is on to something.
Rumsfeld offers us nearly 400 “rules,” on business, war and politics, including: “Lawyers are like beavers. They get in the middle of the stream and dam it up.” Or this: “When you’re up to your ears in alligators, it is difficult to remember that the reason you’re there is to drain the swamp.”
It’s a brisk and fun read.
On the other hand, his detached analysis of the fiasco known as the Iraq war can be a little unnerving.
Rumsfeld occasionally lapses into a variant of the “stuff happens” insouciance we heard from him when reporters asked about the looting and chaos that gripped Iraq after the invasion. (The same “stuff” happened in the 1989 invasion of Panama, we recall, so it was wholly predictable and probably preventable.)
“Many mention the failure to find WMD in Iraq as if intelligence failures of that magnitude had never happened before,” Rumsfeld writes.